Crystal Palace 1 Cardiff City 2: Bluebirds' appetite not sated by Palace 'orgy'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Sam Hammam called it "orgy football". Cardiff City's owner was in ebullient mood after Saturday's victory at Selhurst Park and was especially pleased with the style his team had shown in going six points clear at the top of the Championship.

"Everyone's very comfortable on the ball and almost all of them are very athletic," Hammam said. "It was all pass and move today. We play what I call 'orgy football': the other team know they're going to get it, but they don't know from whom or where from."

Crystal Palace were driven to distraction by Michael Chopra, a player their manager, Peter Taylor, knows well from his job running the England Under-21s. Taylor was unhappy with the way his side had twice been punished by the former Newcastle forward after conceding possession in dangerous areas.

Gary Borrowdale's careless play after only 70 seconds allowed Steven Thompson to set up Chopra, who scored with a fine strike from 15 yards. Six minutes from time, Stuart Green having equalised following Jobi McAnuff's astute pass, Chopra capitalised on more sloppiness by cutting in from the left and shooting against a post, Riccardo Scimeca netting the rebound.

Chopra's smooth running, close control and clever link-up play left you wondering how he had made only 21 appearances in six years at St James' Park. The 22-year-old has now scored seven times in 11 matches since his £500,000 transfer to Cardiff in the summer.

"What he needed was an opportunity to stake a claim in a first team," Jones said. "He wasn't going to develop being a bit-part player at Newcastle."

The only black mark was Chopra's fifth booking of the season and a suspension which will rule him out of tomorrow's match against Southampton. "The problem we have is that we really have only 14 [senior] players," said Hammam, who is balancing team-building with the club's substantial debts and the cost of a new stadium. "If we fail this year it will really be down to lack of numbers."

Simon Jordan, Hammam's Palace counterpart, has just forked out £12m on buying Selhurst Park but his manager cannot complain about a lack of numbers in his squad, having had to deal recently with complaints from Clinton Morrison and Shefki Kuqi about being left out of the team.

Carl Fletcher, the Palace captain, will be available to face West Bromwich Albion tomorrow after injury, but McAnuff and Matt Lawrence could be out with groin and foot injuries respectively.

Goals: Chopra (2) 0-1; Green (40) 1-1; Scimeca (84) 1-2.

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Kiraly; Lawrence (Hudson 45), Cort, Ward, Borrowdale; Green (Soares, 85), Watson, Kennedy, McAnuff (Freedman, 67); Scowcroft, Kuqi. Substitutes not used: Speroni (gk), Morrison.

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Alexander; Gilbert, Purse, Loovens, Chambers; Parry, Scimeca, McPhail, Ledley (Kamara, 69); Thompson (Campbell, 80), Chopra. Substitutes not used: Johnson, Flood, Glombard.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).

Booking: Cardiff Chopra.

Man of the match: Chopra.

Attendance: 18,876.

Comments